Ice cube trays can do so much more than just make your basic ice cubes. There are so many cool and practical hacks you can do with ice cube trays that can make better ice and better drinks.
You can even use ice cube trays for storing things for cooking and baking, making delicious desserts or even crafty goodies.
Here are some of the best and most creative ice cube tray hacks that you can easily try at home.
1. Fill From One Corner And Let It Trickle Down
Rather than trying to individually fill each ice cube mold one at a time did you know that ice cube trays are designed with little groves in the corners so the ice cube molds naturally level out?
When one ice cube mold is too full water will trickle through these channels into the next mold and so on.
You can use this to your advantage and make filling up your ice cube trays easier than ever.
Simply place your ice cube tray under the tap in your sink as show in the picture above.
Tilt the tray downwards on an angle so the ice mold the water is pouring into is higher than all other molds. Now watch the water trickle down and fill up every mold evenly.
Make sure not to put the tap on too high or water will spray everywhere.
2. Twist The Tray To Get Ice Cubes Out Easily
Did you know that the easiest way to get ice cubes out of a plastic or stainless steel ice cube tray is to twice the tray.
Many people try to bend the tray, forming a U shape with the ice cube tray, or they try to bang out the ice cubes or pull them out with a spoon.
But if you just put the ice cube tray upside down and use your hands to twist in opposite directions to each other the ice cubes will fall out quickly and easily.
Just be careful not to twist too hard or you might crack the tray (like my daughter did with one of our ice cube trays).
3. Store Ice Cubes In a Tupperware or Ziplock Bags To Keep Out Nasty Flavors
Did you know that your ice can absorb the smells and flavors of your freezer and even your fridge?!
A lot of fridges use a single compressor in order to cool both the fridge and the freezer and this means air circulates from your fridge into your freezer.
You ice can then absorb smells from food in your fridge or freezer and even absorb the flavors. This is why your ice can taste bad even if the water is fine and no one wants ice that tastes like garlic of fish.
To avoid this once your ice cubes are made place them in a closed container that isn't exposed to the air of the freezer or place them in a plastic ziplock bag.
That way you can store your ice for a long time and it won't taste bad.
4. Place The Bottom Of The Tray In Hot Water To Get Cubes Out Quickly
If you're struggling to get the ice cubes out of your tray and you've tried the twisting method above then try filling up your sink with some hot water.
It doesn't have to be very full, just enough to put the bottom of your ice cube tray on there.
Place your ice cube tray in the hot water for a few seconds, making sure water doesn't actually touch the ice but just the underneath of the tray.
This will quickly melt the bottom of the ice cubes and they will slide right out
5. Add Lemon and/or Mint To Your Ice
To spruce up you water add a bit of squeezed lemon juice, pieces of lemon or bits of mint to your ice cubes.
It's a great way to make refreshing lemon/mint water all year round and you don't have to worry about the lemon or mint going off as it'll keep for months in the ice cubes.
6. Add Fruit Pieces For Fun Ice Cubes
For really fun, colorful and tasty ice cubes add some pieces of fruit into the ice cubes.
This can be a great way to make use of fruit that would otherwise go off and makes that ice cold drink a little bit more exciting.
Pick you favorite fruit to put in the ice cubes. For best results use fresh fruit as this will taste the best once it thaws out.
However, I've actually found buying frozen fruit from the super market and putting in frozen, pre-cut pieces of fruit like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries has worked great when these fruits aren't in season or are a bit too expensive to buy fresh at the time.
7. Freeze Fruit Juice
Rather than freezing water freeze your favorite frozen fruit juice to make fruit juice cubes.
These can be a delicious snack all on their own, perfect on a hot day. Or you can use them in your fruit juice drinks. This way as they melt they don't dilute your drink and the crunchy fruit juice ice blocks make the drink even more interesting.
For the cocktail aficionados you can use these fruit juice ice cubes in cocktails to give your cocktails a unique look and great taste. For example, frozen pineapple juice can be perfect in pina coladas.
8. Make Fruit Frappes
Take the frozen ice cubes and blend them up to make a delicious fruit juice frappe.
This can be super fun for kids and if you make lots of different flavors of fruit juice ice cubes they can mix and match to make their own special and unique frappe flavor.
If you don't have a blender you can place the ice cubes in a cocktail mixer and shake them into a frappe or place them in a glass, let them melt a little and then mush them up with a fork, spoon or knife to make a frappe by hand.
9. Make Mini Ice Pops (or Ice Cream Pops)
Fill up your ice cube trays with fruit juice, soda, or flavored milk and place a stick in them to make mini ice pops.
These are a tasty little snack for kids or adults but they aren't too big that they are extremely unhealthy.
If you do want to make larger ice pops then you can fill up old yoghurt tubs or use one of these methods for making ice without an ice cube tray.
10. Make Crystal Clear Ice
Did you know that most ice you make in your freezer is white because it has air bubbles trapped inside?
Clear ice both looks amazing in your drinks but it also melts slower because it doesn't have any air bubbles in it. When it comes to clear ice vs white ice clear ice is almost always going to be better, but you need to know how to make it.
To make clear ice you need to freeze your ice omni-directionally (from one direction).
To do this place a smaller cooler in your freezer with the lid off and fill it 2/3 with water. I like to use the Coleman Flip Lid 5-Quart Cooler (Amazon) as it's a great size for the freezer and the lid was easy to take off.
Leave in the freezer for 1-2 days and then get it out and turn it upside down in your sink. The size will melt a bit and the giant ice block will fall out.
Most of the block will be clear ice with the bottom being white ice containing all the air bubbles. Cut away the white ice and use a knife or ice pick to break up the ice into smaller cubes. Click here to read the complete beginners guide to making perfectly clear ice everytime.
Alternatively you can buy clear ice cube makers that don't require cutting. The best one I recommend is the True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray.
Many high-end bars and restaurants use this brand and it works really well. There are also a variety of other brands out there that make similar products.
11. Make Large Spherical Ice Cubes
Take your drinks to the next level and wow your friends by making perfect ice spheres for your drinks.
These large ice spheres melt slower making them perfect for drinks like whiskey, scotch, ice coffee and wine where you really don't want the drink diluted much by your ice.
Some of the molds out there make white ice spheres (as the bubbles get trapped inside) but they are very affordable. You can see my full list of the best ice sphere ice cube trays but I personally own and use the Tovolo Seamless Ice Sphere Mold.
For best results you'll want to use distilled water as this tends to be clearer than tap water. However I made this clear ice using tap water and didn't bother filtering it.
It's an affordable mold that makes almost clear ice spheres with just a few air bubbles in them. They look great, it won't break the bank and it makes 4 ice balls at the same time.
12. Make Soft Chewy Ice With Carbonated Water
If you find regular ice cubes too hard to bit into and you want to have ice that is easily chewable then simply fill up your ice cube trays with carbonated water, or for a bit of extra sweetness to the ice you can use tonic water.
The carbon dioxide in the water will mean your ice will freeze with lots of air bubbles in it, making it more chewable than regular ice cubes.
13. Make Mini Chocolates or Peanut Butter Cups
You can use your ice cube trays to make your own unique chocolates.
Simply spray the ice cube tray with some vegetable oil and then pour in some melted chocolate. Move the tray around so the chocolate completely covers the sides of your tray and then place in the freezer to set.
Once it's set fill up the ice cube trays with whatever you want in your chocolates.
Peanut butter is a great idea and you can make your own peanut butter cups or you can use fruit or coconut or different types of nuts. You can even get fancy and mix different types of chocolate. Get creative.
Once your fillings are in pour melted chocolate over the top and place the ice cube tray in the fridge to set.
Once set pop out the chocolate and enjoy your mini fancy chocolate bars.
14. Add Edible Flowers To Your Ice
Make the most beautiful ice cubes ever by placing little flowers inside your ice cubes and freezing them.
This will make your drinks stand out and these are perfect for baby showers, high teas or hens parties.
Make sure your flowers are edible so if the guests do ingest them they won't have any issues.
15. Make Nugget Ice With Mini Ice Cube Trays
However, if you don't have $500-$1,000 to spend on a nugget ice machine for your home but still want that small, crunchy, easy to eat nugget ice then you can get the same result with a nugget ice tray.
This little tray will create small pieces of ice. One tray will fill approximately one glass with ice.
It's a little tedious to get the ice out of the silicone tray, but it's a great option if this is the type of ice you love.
16. Store Cookie Dough Pieces
Create perfect cookie dough portions and store it for your next baking session by placing your cookie dough mixture in your ice cube tray molds.
By freezing the cookie dough you can store it for months without it going bad. When you're ready to cook pop out the cookie dough ice cubes, leave them to thaw and then place them in the oven for delicious, ready-made cookies
17. Make a Toddler Buffet
Make eating fun for your toddler while helping them develop and improve their fine motor skills by turning your ice cube tray into a toddler buffet! (that even rhymes)
When my kids were little I used to place different types of fruits in each of the trays as well as some crackers or nuts for snacks. They'd have to pick each item out to eat them and it would be a lot of fun to watch them and see what items they chose first.
You can even do it with dinner putting their veges in the trays and meat or tofu in other parts of the tray.
18. Turn It Into a Paint Tray
Rather than placing your paints on a paper plate where they will all end up mixed together use an ice cube tray to divide the different color paints up for your kids.
Then let them drip and paint to their hearts content.
Old egg cartons are also a great option if you don't have any spare ice cube trays handy.
19. Make Colored Ice Cubes (and Colored Drinks) With Food Coloring
Fill up your ice cube trays with water and add a single drop of food coloring to each of the ice cubes and mix before freezing.
Alternatively mix up a batch of colored water by placing a couple of drops in a larger jug of water and mixing around. Then pour into your ice cube trays and freeze.
These make colorful and fun ice cubes that taste just like regular ice.
Kids love these too because place them in their water or in their lemonade and they can watch their drink change color as the ice begins to melt.
20. Preserve Your Herbs: Freeze Herb + Olive Single Doses For Cooking
I always hate buying a big things of herbs only to have them wilt and die before I can use them. It feels like a such a waste.
However, with this near little ice cube tray hack you have save your herbs and make cooking even easier.
Break up your herbs and place them in the ice cube tray. Then fill up each ice cube mold with your cooking oil of choice.
I personally use coconut oil but you can use olive oil or whichever type you like.
Then place them in the freezer.
Now when it's time to cook pop out a herbed oil ice cube and place it in your cooking pan.
21. Make Coffee Cubes For Iced Coffee
If you've read any of my articles you know I'm a complete coffee snob. I own a heated coffee mug that cost over $200 (actually I own 2…the Ember Mug and the GlowStone Mug) and I even learned how to alkalize my coffee so my almond milk doesn't separate anymore.
One a hot summers day nothing quite beats a nice ice coffee. But one of the things that sucks is when your ice melts and dilutes your ice coffee making it taste watery.
This is especially true if you're making iced coffee with hot espresso (which I always do).
Instead of using regular ice cubes in your ice coffee make coffee ice cubes.
For me I'll make a long black (as I find espresso coffee cubes too strong) and freeze them then place them in my ice coffee.
As the ice cubes melt it just adds delicious coffee to my drink.
22. Make Frozen Milk Ice Cubes
Instead of freezing coffee cubes another way to make a delicious iced coffee without watering it down is to make frozen milk cubes.
Pour your milk of choice into your ice cube tray and then when making an iced coffee use these cubes instead of ice cubes. Then as it melts it just adds more milk to your iced coffee, not water.
You can even combined coffee ice cubes and milk ice cubes and blend them to make an amazing coffee frappe. Now if that's not the perfect ice cube tray hack to make life better I don't know what is.
23. Freeze Tea For Use In Iced Tea
If iced tea is your drink of choice over iced coffee firstly…what are you doing with your life?
But in all seriousness you can do the same thing we talked about with iced coffee with iced tea.
Make a batch of your favorite tea and pour it into the ice cube trays after it cools. Placing hot water in plastic isn't usually recommended.
Then when you make your next batch of iced tea use the iced tea cubes. As they melt they won't dilute your iced tea.
24. Freeze Aloe Vera Gel For Sunburns or Cuts
If you're anything like me I'll usually get burned at least once every summer and there is no better way to treat sunburned skin than aloe vera and cold.
Combine the 2 by making aloe vera ice cubes.
Take the inside of the aloe vera plant (removing the skin) and blend it up into a liquid.
Place in your ice cube trays and freeze. Then if you get burned take out an ice cube and use it to apply to pure natural aloe vera to your skin.
25. Freeze Leftover Wine (For Cooking or Ice Cubes In New Wine)
If you've opened a bottle of wine and aren't going to drink the entire thing you can let it go off, or you can freeze it into ice cubes to use in future cups of wine or for cooking.
Simply pour your leftover wine into your ice cube tray and freeze.
Then you can use this in new glasses on wine to keep them cool without diluting the wine as it melts of you can throw the ice cubes in your pan and add some yummy flavor to your next meal.
26. Make Mini Bath Bombs
This fun and relaxing ice cube tray hack is a favorite when some self love and pamper time is needed.
Rather than making larger and expensive bath bombs you can make small ones using your ice cube tray.
Simply make up your bath bomb mixture, place in your ice cube tray and then leave it to set. Homemade for Elle has a guide for making DIY mini bath bombs.
27. Make Mini Candles
You can make mini candles using your ice cube tray.
Simply pour in candle wax into your ice cube tray and then add your wick and leave it to set. This is a great way to make multiple mini candles all at the same time.
28. Freeze Milk Chocolate Cubes and Add Them To A Glass Of Milk
Make up some chocolate milk (or buy it premade) and then freeze the chocolate milk into ice cubes. I personally like to make a strong chocolate milk to freeze to give my drink more flavor as it melts but you can experiment with how you like it.
Then pop out the chocolate ice cubes and add to chocolate milk, or even better add it to some vanilla milk or even regular milk for some extra flavor.
29. Water Color Ice Cubes For Kids
If you've got little kids add some cool to their crafty play time by making water color ice cubes they can paint with.
Pour some paint into the ice cube molds and then add water and mix it well. Place a toothpick in the tray and freeze them.
Now your kids can paint with ice cube paint brushes. Just make sure they are quick and they don't melt everywhere.
30. Grow Seedlings For Kitchen Herbs
Instead of using large pots for you kitchen herbs you can use ice cube trays.
Place some seeds in your ice cube tray and soil and place on the windowsill in your kitchen to grow some herbs you can use in your cooking.
I like this over larger pots and I often don't need many herbs when cooking so it gives me more variety and less waste.
31. Freeze Omelets For Fresh Breakfast
Me and my kids love omelets for breakfast or brunch but sometimes the fresh ingredients I like to put in my omelets (eg. mushrooms) go off before I'm able to use them.
Also while my kids will happily cook the omelet they are often too lazy to actually cut up the things to go in it.
However, if I make a batch of omelets and place them in ice cube trays then the kids can easily pop out a couple of omelet ice cubes and cook them from breakfast (while Dad is having a sleep in). It's a great easy and healthy way to start the day.
32. Make Ravioli Pieces
Nothing tastes quite as good as home made ravioli. However, it can be difficult and time consuming to make…especially for someone like me who isn't the greatest cook.
By using your ice cube tray you can make ravioli easier.
Place the bottom layer of pasta in your ice cube tray and push down on it so it molds to the tray. Add your fillings and top layer and then flip over.
You can now cut your ravioli pieces and press down the sides so they don't fall apart and you're done.
This also make cooking them with kids lots of fun.
33. Store Broth and Stock Cubes (Chicken, Vege, Beef)
When I make my vege soup I often have a bit of vege stock leftover that goes to waste and gets poured down the drain because I can't store it long enough.
Instead of throwing away your leftover chicken, beef or vegetable stock pour it into your ice cube tray and freeze it. It'll last for months and you can throw it in your next stew or soup.
34. Make Pesto and Freeze Cubes of Pesto
Make use of your fresh herbs before they wilt and die by matching a batch of pesto sauce.
Instead of putting it in a jar in the fridge, which doesn't last super long, put it in your ice cube tray and freeze it. Then you've got small servings of pesto herb cubes whenever you need it.
35. Clean The Smells Out Of Your Silicone Ice Trays By Baking Them
Over time your silicone ice cube trays can absorb smells and flavors which it will then impart into your ice making it taste weird.
One of the best ways to get rid of the funky smells in your silicone ice trays is to bake them in the over whilst empty.
Turn your oven up to 350ºF (180ºC) and place your trays in there. Check them every 20-30 minutes to see how it's doing. It may take up to an hour or more to completely remove the smells.
Below you can see a simple guide on how to get rid of smells and bad flavors in your silicone ice cube trays. NOTE: Do NOT do this with plastic ice cube trays.
36. Store DIY Baby Food
Rather than buying baby food from the supermarket which can be full of sugars and preservatives you probably don't want serving to your little one why not make your own baby food at home and store it by pouring it into your ice cube tray.
When it comes time to eat them you can simply leave them out to defrost, defrost them in the microwave or even crush them up or blend them to give your baby something cold and fun to eat.
37. Make Mini Sushi Rolls
I love sushi and my kids love sushi but I had always been daunted at the idea of trying to make sushi at home myself as I'm not a very good cook.
But then I discovered ice cube tray sushi, it's so easy!
Simply make some rice and fill up the ice cube tray with the ice and then turn upside down to remove the rice. I find here easy release ice cube trays are the best for this.
Then place your fish or avocado on top and you've got a little sushi roll.
What I like to do is fill up half the ice cube mold with rice, then place in my avocado or cucumber or other fillings and then place rice on top.
If you want you can even put in a little layer of seaweed before you put the rice in and this can even help with getting the mini sushi rolls out of the tray easier.
38. Freeze Home Made Tomato Sauce
If you've made your own tomato sauce or pizza sauce but haven't used it all don't let it go to waste. Instead freeze it in ice cubes for next time you're making pasta.
I personally don't make my own tomato sauce or paste but I do make my own pasta sauces and large ice cube trays can be a great way to store single serves of pasta sauce for future use. It's a great way to use the last bit of a bottle and stop food from going to waste.
I then simply cook some pasta and heat up the sauce in the microwave and lunch is good to go.
39. Make Martini Jello Shots
Bionic Bites has an awesome guide on how to make really fun and interesting frozen jello shots that'll wow your guests and be a lot of fun.
You can even throw in frozen fruits to make them tastier.
40. Freeze Healthy Greens To Add To Smoothies
My dad will regularly do this with items like kale where he wants to have a little bit in his smoothies each day but doesn't want a giant bunch of kale in his fridge.
He'll juice up the kale, or blend it up with other greens, and then freeze them into little ice cubes.
Each morning when he makes his smoothies he'll throw in 1-2 green cubes to give him a really healthy start to the day.
41. Make Easy Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt ice cubes are great for a healthy little snack on a hot summers day or you can throw a couple of yogurt ice cubes into your smoothy to give it that creamy thick texture as well as adding amazing flavor.
I love this frozen treat and so do my kids
42. Create Buttermilk Cubes
Nothing makes a Saturday morning quite like buttermilk pancakes. However, often there is too much buttermilk and a lot of it goes to waste.
Instead of throwing it out and buying (or making) new buttermilk every time store the leftover buttermilk in ice cubes.
I like to measure out my ice cubes (rather than just filling up the molds) so I know exactly how much buttermilk is in each cube.
43. Use Silicone Ice Cube Trays For Baking Mini Treats
If your ice cube trays are 100% silicone then did you know they can go in the oven and can be used to make mini cupcakes, cookies or other treats?
Silicone is great because it is reusable and won't leech chemicals into your food. The little ice cube trays also come in loads of different shapes and sizes so you can make a lot of fun treats.
44. Store Frozen Eggs or Egg Whites For Future Use
If you're using egg yolks to make something special then don't throw away the whites (or visa versa if you're using egg whites).
Instead put them into your ice cube tray and freeze them for future use. You can also do this with whole eggs.
Recently I was making an omelet and I cracked open an egg only to find out it had gone bad and was a bright greeny yellow color. I could have stored my eggs in ice cubes if I knew I wasn't going to eat them quickly and I wouldn't have had this problem.
45. Make Garbage Disposal Smell Removers
If your garbage disposal is starting to get a bit stinky then you can make garbage disposable smell removers.
Simple combine vinegar and lemon juice (I like to leave in the lemon peels also) and make ice cubes. Then when its needs throw a couple into your garbage disposal to improve the smell.
46. Gross Gummy Worm or Bug Ice Cubes For Halloween Drinks
This is one of my favorite ice cube tray hacks for birthday parties or halloween.
Place gummy worms or plastic bugs in ice cubes and freeze them. You can even use fruit juice instead of water.
Then when you give your kids or guest a drink it'll have creepy crawlies in it.
What I love above the gummy worm ice cubes is that they are a tasty treat once them melt and it's not something you see done very often so it tends to really impress people and be a good talking point.
47. Hot Chocolate Sticks
Make a DIY hot chocolate stick with you ice cube trays.
Fill up your ice cube trays with melted chocolate, place a couple of marshmallow on top and then put a stick in the middle.
Then serve up hot milk and allow your guests to mix and make their own hot chocolate.
I love doing this with my kids and it's great as they can decide how much chocolate they want in their milk vs how much they just want to eat off the stick.
48. Mini Rice Crispie Cubes
Rather than make an entire slab of rice crispies that you have to cut up into different pieces you can make individual ones by placing them in ice cube trays.
Pour melted chocolate on top to make them extra delicious. These can be great for kids parties or school lunch boxes.
49. Chocolate Covered Strawberries Made Easy
I'm a sucker for chocolate covered strawberries but I get frustrated at how time consuming they are to make for me. Plus storing them on a tray in the fridge takes up so much room and they always get stuck to the baking paper no matter how hard I try.
A better solution is to use your ice cube tray.
There are 2 ways to do this.
One way is to cut up your strawberries and place them in the ice cube tray and then pour melted chocolate over them as seen in the video above.
The other method is to leave your strawberries whole. Pour the melted chocolate into the ice cube tray first (only fill up 1/2 to 2/3 full) and then push the strawberry in.
They don't look as fancy as the regular way to make chocolate covered strawberries but I can tell you from experience they taste just as good. You can even mix up milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate strawberries.
50. Organize Your Jewelry or Nick-Nacks
Instead of leaving all your jewelry in a draw where it will get completely mixed up you can use an ice cube tray to store the little pieces and keep them separated.
This is great for small items like rings and earrings as well as items like bangles and necklaces that can get easily tangled.
51. Store Children's Craft Items
My kids love craft and with craft there are often lots of little items like googly eyes, pipe cleaners, sequins etc that get mixed up and go completely to waste.
By using an ice cube tray we can keep our kids craft organized and ready to use.
52. Make and Store Garlic Butter
Home made garlic bread is a favorite in my household and garlic butter is pretty easy to make, but often we don't need to eat it all at once.
Instead of storing it in the fridge where it can go off faster you can put the garlic butter in your ice cube trays to use in future.
Simply throw in a hot pan to cook with garlic butter or defrost it if you're making garlic bread.
53. Lego Man or Bug Ice Cubes For Kids
I saved one of the coolest ice cube hacks for last. This one is so fun and will encourage your kids to drink more water and it's so much fun at parties too.
Take your kids lego men (clean of course) and place them in the ice cubes. You may need something heavy to put on top of them because they tend to float.
Then the lego men will be frozen in the ice and your kids can watch the ice melt in their drink until they can get the lego man out.